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Key messages

  • Empathise with and understand the thoughts and feelings a parent is experiencing. It is rare for parents to respond to their child's disclosure or Child Safety’s concerns with unequivocal belief.
  • Use appreciative inquiry to explore where the parent is on a 'continuum of belief'.
  • Highlight the importance of a parent listening to a child’s disclosures of sexual abuse, believing them, taking some form of action in response to the disclosures, and ensuring the child receives emotional support to help them through the process.
  • Talk to parents about how the child responded to and engaged in acts of resistance against the abuse, as this reinforces the fact that the abuse was deliberate and focuses on the child's acts of bravery.
  • Link parents to safe people and services who believe the child protection concerns as a means of building their capacity to believe and protect their child.
  • Use clear factual language that reflects the child's experience and avoid jargon as this distances the parent from the child's experience.

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